The short form provides Lethem with opportunities to experiment and work outside the restrictions of a novel. “Access Fantasy,” a fable about consumerism set in a world where cars clog the streets, is 22 pages set in a single paragraph. “The National Anthem” uses a letter to narrow the gap between two friends.
“That’s a really interesting piece for me, because I’ve never fooled around the epistolary form at all before,” Lethem says, noting one of the few books he’s read that has a similar construct is Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”
The book features the characters of Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude from Lethem’s earlier novel, The Fortress of Solitude.